Nokia mixes private 5G and edge compute in new MXIE master bundle for Industry 4.0
Nokia has bundled industrial-grade compute, storage, and networking into a single edge solution for mission-critical Industry 4.0. The new package comes with industrial IoT sensing and analytics applications, as well, plus a “single pane of glass” management platform to draw together newly-connected operational technology (OT) components.
The solution, called Nokia MX Industrial Edge (MXIE), is presented by Nokia as the first of its kind; a “cloud-native, mission-critical industrial edge solution” for Industry 4.0. It is built on top of Nokia’s existing plug-and-play edge networking solution, Digital Automation Cloud, which bundles private 4G and 5G, along with Nokia-developed IoT apps, notably its High Accuracy Indoor Positioning solution, and pre-approved third-party software.
It can also go with Nokia’s alternative macro-geared private wireless solution, Nokia Modular Private Wireless (MPW). Nokia is targeting asset-intensive industries, it said, such as manufacturing, energy, and transportation, where the Industry 4.0 concept has traditionally applied. It seeks to bring heftier compute resources into the outer edge, adjacent to OT functions in factories and plants, in the process of being connected with private LTE and 5G.
Nokia quoted Gartner in its press release, stating 75 percent of industrial data will be processed at the edge by 2025, and suggested the new MXIE bundle addresses a “new category” of Industry 4.0 applications requiring increased edge performance and tighter integration with industrial systems. The solution is scalable, it said, and available as-a-service for a flexible consumption-based fee, affording a “low-cost entry point… and full control over data”.
The Finnish vendor is using its own AirFrame Open Edge server in the setup, based on an Intel computer processing unit (CPU) for compute-intensive tasks and advanced AI and ML workloads, with optional support for graphic processing (GPU). High-performance network interface cards (NICs) and packet processing systems can be scaled to support very large 5G standalone (SA) private wireless traffic flows.
Nokia said in a statement: “Scalability enables multi-facility enterprises, such as logistics companies, to deploy the same technology in all locations, whether large or small, making the benefits of ‘develop-once, deploy-everywhere’ a reality.” Nokia promises geographical redundancy (GR) and guaranteed service performance, it said, via the system’s high availability (HA) architecture and integrated orchestration features.
Nokia said its “ecosystem-neutral approach” enables industrial customers to take advantage of edge cloud compatible applications from the likes of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as from industrial partners. Nokia is also claiming easy ‘southbound’ IoT system integration with its industrial connectors translating sundry industrial data protocols, and its ‘integrated operations center’ offering over-the-top management.
Stephan Litjens, head of enterprise solutions at Nokia, said: ”Industry 4.0 is transforming asset-intensive industries by integrating and digitalizing all processes and systems across the industrial value chain. This will result in an explosion of data – and taking the right actions based on that data in near real-time will be critical to the success of digital transformation initiatives.
“Ensuring performance, along with aspects like keeping data local and secure while being resilient against internet connectivity failures, are not possible with a centralized cloud, making the on-prem edge the architecture of choice for this new breed of OT applications. The Nokia MX Industrial Edge is built from the ground-up to deliver the guaranteed performance, security and reliability that OT digitalization use cases require.”
He added: “All industrial and enterprise campuses, such as factories, logistics hubs, ports, and so on are multi-solution and multi-partner environments. By adopting an ecosystem-neutral approach and integration plug-ins, our customers get unparalleled flexibility and benefit from the widest array of applications and use cases to adopt innovations to advance their digital transformation.”
Caroline Chan, vice president of network platforms and general manager of network business incubation at Intel, said: “Nokia and Intel have a long-standing partnership to provide innovative solutions from the core to the edge of the intelligent network, which Nokia is expanding to accelerate Industry 4.0 adoption. The combination of Intel’s innovations and CPUs alongside Nokia’s MX Industrial Edge Platform and 5G technology will offer enterprise customers the ability to connect, deploy and manage their environments.”